When considering how long a CR can be used, the tendency is to focus primarily on weight limits. But given the quantity of high-weight-harness (HWH) models on today’s market, most children will outgrow a CR by height before reaching the weight limit—sometimes long before.
It wasn’t always this way. Within recent memory, weight was nearly always the limiting factor, since infant CRs had 22-pound rear-facing limits, and forward-facing harnesses uniformly could be used to 40 pounds. But CRs today have been strengthened and are rated to be used at much higher weights for either mode, so the mind-set must shift to expecting most CRs to be outgrown by height.
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A study by The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and State Farm insurance shows that teens who drive in states with primary seat belt law enforcement are more likely to buckle up than those in states with secondary enforcement.* It also found that teens buckle up more often while driving (82 percent) than as passengers (69 percent).
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In April, Transport Canada (TC) and Health Canada jointly issued a Consumer Information Notice to warn Canadian citizens that it is illegal to import and use a CR in Canada that does not comply with Canadian standards (as verified by the national service mark, shown here). This applies to all CRs, whether purchased by consumers while abroad or shipped to their address by a non-Canadian catalog or online retailer. The reminder was prompted by reports by border officers and CPSTs indicating an influx of CRs being privately imported into Canada.
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The tragic death last September of a Macon, Georgia, infant in a grocery store parking lot reminds us of the very real danger to children when riding in a common form of “transportation”—the shopping cart. The 3-month-old was secured in his infant seat perched on the child seating area of the shopping cart when he and the CR toppled from the cart as it went over a parking lot speed bump.
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The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has been successful in its effort to get CPT (Current Procedural Terminology) codes assigned to car seat/car bed challenge procedures (also known as angle tolerance tests). This is an important accomplishment because medical services with an assigned CPT code can be submitted by the practitioner for insurance reimbursement. This means that these procedures are likely to become more routine and widespread for at-risk infants.
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In the last two issues, SRN ran articles exploring CR angle situations of following the “level-to-ground” line and considering issues related to touching the back of the front vehicle seat. During our research, we noted a handful of other interesting angle-related issues worth mentioning.
Safe Ride News asked the Global Automakers and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (auto industry groups that, between the two, represent the U.S. divisions of every major vehicle brand) about the safety of children seated near side air bags in the rear seating area, including torso air bags. The following is a joint statement from these organizations:
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Once again, in the heat of August, NHTSA aimed an icy blast at efforts to require lap-shoulder belts on all school buses. A petition submitted by Safe Ride News Publications and others in January, 2010 (SRN January/February 2010), after a fatal school bus crash in Connecticut, was denied by NHTSA on August 25, 2011. The agency said, “We have not found a safety problem supporting a federal requirement for lap-shoulder belts on large school buses, which are already safe.”
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Dr. Winston is a board-certified practicing pediatrician, biomechanical engineer, and clinical researcher. She is the founder and co-scientific director of The Center for Injury Research and Prevention at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).
Since 1997, CPSTs have helped families safely navigate occupant protection for children with measurable results. Motor vehicle crashes are no longer the leading cause of death for children under age 4.* We have tracked steady increases in appropriate restraint use and a corresponding drop in fatalities—from about 2,000 per year in the 1990s to fewer than 1,100 in 2009 for children less than 16 years old.
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Part one of this series on installation angles for rear-facing CRs, which explored using the level-to-ground line to determine the appropriate angle, ran in the last issue of SRN. This article considers another issue related to rear-facing CR angle: things to consider when the top of the CR contacts the vehicle front seatback. Unlike the issue of understanding how to read the level-to-ground line, which depends solely on the CR manufacturer as the source of guidance, this situation requires considering the advice of both the CR and vehicle manufacturer.